4200 public sector jobs set to go as cutbacks continue

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PUBLIC sector bodies in Edinburgh are to axe up to 4200 jobs in the next two years, a new report has warned, as it emerged that joblessness costs the city £309 million every year. A new five-year employment strategy highlighted the extent of cutbacks still expected to be made.

It said job losses were likely to be in the local authority, NHS Lothian and government among others.

The number of jobseekers is expected to grow on average by 1.2 per cent every year but the job supply may only increase by 0.3 per cent every year, according to the Strategy for Jobs report by Edinburgh City Council. The result is that by 2018 there could be up to 37,000 more people looking for work in the city than there are available jobs.

The report warned that Edinburgh will need to continue to attract investment from abroad, while small firms will need more support to ensure they survive.

John Stevenson, chairman of Unison in Edinburgh, warned that cuts to the city’s public sector would have a knock-on effect on the private sector.

He said: “If you take 4200 people out of the working population in Edinburgh you get a lot of businesses where those wages aren’t being spent.

“Research has shown 68p in every £1 that a public sector worker earns they spend locally, so we’ll see jobs go in the private sector as a result.”

Along with job creation, and providing opportunities for those leaving school, the report highlights the need for regeneration of areas such as the stalled Caltongate development in the Old Town.

Tom Buchanan, the city’s economic development leader, said: “We work to promote the city across the globe. . We invest heavily in public spaces and bringing together the various organisations that are essential towards building the right overall conditions for economic success.”